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Mozilla The Internet Science

Mozilla Launches Initiative To Adapt Scientific Practice To the Open Web 28

Posted by Soulskill
from the dead-trees-need-not-apply dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today Mozilla announced the Mozilla Science Lab, a project to help modernize scientific practices to make better use of the open web. "Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn't transformed scientific practice to the same extent we've seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the "analog" age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around "papers," for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.' Hopefully this can be another step in moving away from traditional publishing practices, and encourage a new generation of scientists to make their data available in more useful ways."
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Mozilla Launches Initiative To Adapt Scientific Practice To the Open Web

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  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:21PM (#44008817)

    Many fields are so well-developed that in order to stay competitive, researchers must be highly specialized, ignoring all other branches of their discipline for their one specific area of expertise. Time spent learning those other branches is time not spent on the all-important publications. Even though learning about other areas might be better in the long run, the immediate goal of keeping one's job must be met first.

    In my experience, having worked in physics research, and with connections and friends in chemistry and engineering, this effectively not true. There may be a couple people so overworked they have zero time for extra activities and some are short on time when starting families, but otherwise my colleagues could all easily read extra papers and news in outside areas more so if they wanted to. The issue isn't so much time, it is an actual motivation and interest in other research (which may still partially be influenced by amount of free time).

    People seem to work in subfields because they are interested, or otherwise end up developing a strong interest in the field they are in after joining it. They would rather seek out more directly relevant papers even if they may not be as useful or novel than stuff in other fields. Many still read up on other specific fields of interest. I especially see this for people who changed fields at some point, and they still frequently keep up on the previous field in addition to their new one. I still get someone stopping by once a week with a, "you have to see this, it is really cool (or really stupid...)," from them digging through papers outside of their field.

    While softening the publish or die approach to academia would free up a lot of time, most of that would still end up going back into the same subfield work for a lot of the people I know. And for those that would use that time to explore other fields, they are already doing so now, just would do even more so.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon

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